PITTSFIELD -- Lee schools Superintendent Jason "Jake" McCandless is among the three candidates left vying for the top post in the Pittsfield Public Schools.

McCandless, along with Mashpee schools Superintendent Ann Bradshaw and William Hart, assistant schools superintendent for the Pentucket Regional School District based in West Newbury, will be the finalists interviewed by the Pittsfield School Committee.

The committee Wednesday night announced it has scheduled one-hour question-and-answer sessions for 6:30 p.m. Jan. 28, Jan. 29 and Feb. 4 at Pittsfield High School. However, the seven-member panel hasn't determined which candidate will be interviewed on what night.

The school board expects to vote on making a job offer to one of the finalists at a Feb. 27 meeting.

The Superintendent Screening Committee formally presented the School Committee with the names of three finalists selected from a pool of 18 candidates.

"I think we have three excellent candidates," said committee chairwoman Kathleen A. Amuso, who is also a School Committee member. "I can tell you it's going to be a difficult decision."

The nine-member committee had interviewed six semifinalists behind closed doors before choosing the three superintendent hopefuls. Under the state's open meeting law, only the finalists' names are made public.

As part of the process, the candidates also will tour the Pittsfield schools, selected School Committee members will conduct site visits of where each candidate is employed, and the search consultant firm will continue to do background and reference checks on the three candidates.

"You will get a tremendous amount of information to help you make a decision," said William Garr, executive vice president of Future Management Systems of Beverly.

The School Committee has spent about a year searching for a successor to Howard "Jake" Eberwein III, who announced his resignation early last January and departed the school system on June 30 to take a job with Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams.

Gordon Noseworthy was hired in June as interim superintendent for a year after a prior superintendent search early last year produced only nine candidates. In May, the School Committee decided against hiring a finalist submitted by a previous search committee.

The school board has agreed to offer a salary range of $150,000 to $170,000 for the post, which is $25,000 to $45,000 more than Eberwein was earning.

However, Eberwein did not accept a pay raise above his $125,000 salary during his four years as superintendent.

Eberwein's successor will oversee Berkshire County's largest school district -- 6,161 students as of Oct. 1 -- and third-largest employer with nearly 1,200 teachers, administrators and support staff.

To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6233.

Resume review

The Pittsfield School Committee will interview the following finalists seeking to become the city's next school superintendent:

Jason ‘Jake' McCandless:

n Lee Public Schools superintendent, July 1, 2005-present

n Lee Middle and High School principal, July 1, 2002-June 30, 2005

n Assistant high school principal, Mineral Va., July 1, 1999-June 30, 2002

n High School English teacher, Mineral, Va., 1990s.

Ann Bradshaw:

n Mashpee Public Schools superintendent, July 2005-present

n Falmouth Public Schools assistant superintendent, 2000-2005

n Falmouth's curriculum director, 1996-2000

n Falmouth teacher, 1980-84, 1992-96.

William Hart:

n Pentucket Regional School District. assistant superintendent, 2007-present

n Leominster High School principal, 2000-2007.

n High school principal in Maine, 1994-2000

n Assistant high school principal, American Community School, Greece, 1992-1994

n Teacher, Andover High School, 1985-1992